Meet Natalie Doucette, Nova Scotia’s first Mi'kmaw child welfare specialist
As the province’s first Mi’kmaw child welfare specialist, Natalie Doucette is often on the road offering support to families in transition.
“I bring a different perspective that is grounded in our culture. I believe this will open the doors overall for better communication and understanding,”
Her priority is to connect with First Nations communities across Nova Scotia as she gets underway in this newly created position. At times this will involve a regular commute between offices in Sydney and Eskasoni. Other days, she’ll be reaching out to 13 First Nation communities as far afield as Pictou Landing, Millbrook, Bear River and Acadia.
“This unique role will provide me with the opportunity to explore and develop culturally relevant practices in the delivery of Mi’kmaw child welfare.”
Natalie will be working in conjunction with Mi’kmaw Family and Children’s Services. This close relationship is based on the strength of experience she gained by working with the agency for 24 years. Her approach weaves together lessons from her personal life, wisdom from her community, and knowledge from her practice and studies. Natalie spent her childhood in Potlotek First Nation, also known as Chapel Island, on the Bras D’or Lake in Cape Breton.
“You could say this is in my blood from a young age. With my father being the Chief, we always had people come to our family home who were on the forefront of social and economic issues facing our Mi’kmaq communities,” she says. “This provided me with a good sense of the issues affecting our communities which directed my desire to become a Mi’kmaw social worker.”